Inner workings revealed

June 14, 2017

Team effort: Jewel Jose, Warren Norton, John Stanley (back), Justine James, Rachel Varapodio (back), Rachel Cooper, Kristin D'agruma and Tanya McKenzie.

Deep in the bowels of Goulburn Valley Health lies a sophisticated set-up.

Thick cardboard boxes line shelves where hand cream, mattresses and even the odd Christmas decoration can be seen peering out.

Another room next door is set at a cool temperature which sends a shiver down a person’s spine when they first walk in.

There are more boxes in this room and the area is completely sterile and kept in a strict order.

Rarely would anyone admitted to GV Health stop to think about where their mattress was stored or if the blood containers nurses and doctors used had to be kept at a certain temperature.

But like many hospitals, GV Health has a well-equipped team ready to supply the hospital with everything it may need from bandages to toilet paper and even stationery.

The department which co-ordinates the area also services several nursing homes, medical practices and other smaller hospitals such as Mansfield and Rushworth.

GV Health procurement and contracts interim manager Tanya McKenzie keeps track of the supply ordering with her trusty team, while supply systems and warehouse manager Justine James has his own team all set to deliver outside and inside the hospital.

Both teams regard themselves as one unit and seem fond of working side by side.

‘‘We do a massive coverage of area, externally to the hospital as well as internally,’’ Ms McKenzie said.

‘‘Basically anything to do with services or physical products we organise.’’

Mr James oversees the distribution inside and outside the hospital and spends his time in the store rooms.

Although his colleagues like to tease him about his name, it is clear he is highly respected and well-liked as a boss.

Mr James’ job is focused on categorising and making sure stock is on hand and taken outside of the hospital to other areas when ordered.

He described the storage rooms as being a supermarket with a wide range of items readily available.

‘‘This supermarket is different from a normal supermarket, this is basically for the hospitals and aged care centres,’’ he said.

Mr James said stock moved quickly and although the shelves may look full one day the next they would be almost empty.

Despite this, there was always back-up stock ready to be placed on the shelves.

Mr James said it was vital to always have stock on hand.

‘‘Otherwise if there is a procedure going on in theatre and if you don’t have enough stock here then they have to stop the procedure,’’ he said.

Fortunately this has never happened during his time at the hospital and there are systems in place to make sure stock always gets replaced.

Senior procurement officer Warren Norton has worked in the supplies area for about six years and, along with his colleagues, makes sure the hospital buys the things it needs.

Mr Norton previously worked in retail for about nine years and was looking for a change of pace when he happened to see an advertisement for his current job.

‘‘I love every day, every day is different,’’ he said.

‘‘Even though you’re doing the same tasks every day there’s always something different happening.’’

Because the team resides in a back corner of the hospital, it is the least visible of any department.

Mr Norton did not think the rest of the staff really knew what went into ordering the items they needed.

‘‘Obviously when things go wrong everyone knows who we are, which is a challenge but that’s every job really,’’ he said.

‘‘But I don’t think people understand the kind of challenges you’re faced with every single day; people from the organisation are more concerned with what’s happening around their department whereas we have to think about the entire organisation.

‘‘We don’t just think about our department, we think about every single department in the organisation because everyone’s ordering through us.’’

For Ms McKenzie the diversity of the job was what kept her interested and she was aware of how valuable the team was to not only the hospital but the entire region.

‘‘You can do this role in many businesses ... but with this you’re actually impacting people’s lives and impacting the community,’’ she said.

‘‘They’re a great team here, they’re a really integrated team who support each other a lot.

‘‘They do a lot of work to make sure the high expectations are met.’’

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